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Updated Fall 2020 Plans

FAQs Traditional  | FAQs Graduate & Professional Studies | Academics | Student Experience & Engagement| Tuition Freeze & Ninth Semester| Emergency Student Support Fund | Health & Safety Guidelines & Protocols| Technology and Online Learning Updates | COVID-19 CARES Act |

 **This page will be updated frequently. Please check back for new information. **

IMPORTANT UPDATE: FALL 2020 (posted August 12, 2020)

Dear Becker College Community:

Despite meticulous planning for the fall semester, we have made the difficult decision to change our plans and hold a fall semester that is completely online, with no residential living.

As disappointing as we know this is for students and their families, we have grown increasingly concerned about worsening conditions across the country and in our area, seemingly insurmountable challenges in testing and quarantine for students and families coming to campus from high-risk states, predictions there will be a second wave of the virus in late summer to early fall, and continued cautionary guidance from the state and public health officials.

Our top priority has, and always will be, the health and well-being of our entire community. After carefully reviewing and refining our opening plans over the past several weeks, we ultimately concluded that we could not provide an on-campus living and learning experience that would safeguard our community to our highest standards. Increasing regulations and stringent guidelines around quarantine and isolation housing; testing for faculty, staff, and residence and commuter students; and required extensive contact tracing pose profound challenges for our small, residential campuses.

In addition, Becker is an integral and fully integrated part of both the city of Worcester and the town of Leicester. It is our duty and obligation to protect the health and safety of residents living in those communities. We generally have 50% of our students commute to campus. The Fall Options for Living and Learning Survey data showed over 40% still intended to commute. With that large commuter population, and students from 42 states (with 32 of those states currently identified as high- or higher-risk states) as well as outside the U.S., this decision is the right thing to do—albeit one of the most difficult decisions we have ever made. This is not just about protecting the Becker community; rather, it is also protecting the families, neighbors, and community members our students, faculty, and staff come in contact with.

Even though you will not come to campus, you will be part of the Becker Experience, which is dedicated to your academic progress and provides you with multiple opportunities to experience campus life through virtual activities and engagement. We understand this fall will be different than you anticipated or hoped for. Our priority is to ensure that you progress appropriately toward your degree completion. Our goal is to create a personalized, purposeful, engaging, and supportive remote campus experience for you. We have also built in an incentive that reflects our commitment to you as a valued member of Hawk Nation.

To our faculty and staff, I am deeply appreciative of your hard work and dedication over the past several weeks as you devised plans and protocols with the intent of welcoming students back to campus. To our students who were looking forward to coming to campus this fall, I know this decision is both difficult and frustrating. More than anything, we want you back; the campus feels empty without you. I urge you to take part in the student experience and engagement activities, as we all will be connecting with you virtually throughout the semester.

Finally, Becker understands that you may encounter technology challenges with online learning or may be struggling to purchase books and course materials—all necessary to help you to continue your studies. We ask that you let us know if you encounter technology challenges; we may be able to assist you. To report technology challenges or to apply for assistance from the Student Support Fund, please login to Canvas, access the “ACAD-2020-ONL-2020FA-Covid19 Emergency Fund” course, and download and submit the Technology Challenges Form or the Student Support Fund Form.

More information is provided on this page. Should you have questions, please send an email to covid19@becker.edu.

I look forward to the start of the semester. Even during this unprecedented crisis, it is a time for new beginnings, new friendships, and engaging classes. August always translates to a fresh start—a time to begin your journey or continue along the way toward your goals. Your Becker education can open doors for you. Regardless if you are just starting your journey with us or if you are well on your way, embrace the challenge and spread your wings, Hawk Nation!

Stay well and #HawksMaskup!

Sincerely,

Nancy P. Crimmin, Ed.D.

President


FAQs Traditional

Academics

Q: Can I make changes to my course schedule? Who do I contact? When is the last day I can make changes?

A: You may make changes to your course schedule by contacting your advisor. Changes can be made to your schedule until the end of the Add/Drop period (August 31).

Q: What are synchronous vs. asynchronous classes?

A: An asynchronous class is one where instructors provide materials, lectures, tests and assignments that can be accessed at any time. Synchronous classes have students and instructors online at the same time where lectures, discussions and dialogue occur live at a specific time and day each week. Faculty will reflect one of these modes of delivery in their syllabi. If your online course does not have a scheduled meeting day/time, it is an asynchronous course. If it has a scheduled day/time, you can expect to meet in real-time.

Q: How will classes work in each format?

A: Classes delivered in a synchronous format means that instructors and students will meet live virtually at designated class times so that students will be able to engage in real time with peers and faculty for interactive instruction, project work, guest speakers and discussions. Asynchronous online classes will not meeting in real time. Both types of online classes will require students to work within Canvas to access assignments, course resources, individualized feedback, spaces for collaborative projects and discussion sites.

Q: What happens if I am in a different time zone and in a synchronous class?

A: Posted class times will be based on Eastern Standard Time. Students are encouraged to work with their advisors to adjust their schedules so that they are registered in courses that allow for the student’s live participation at the designated class time.  Attendance policies will apply. Although class sessions will be recorded and available for students’ review, a thriving online classroom experience requires full participation from all students enrolled in the class.

Q: How will students communicate with faculty?

A: Students will meet with faculty live during virtual classes at designed class times. In addition, faculty will be available by appointment. As always, Becker faculty are highly committed to being responsive to our students.  Email communication with faculty is always encouraged.

Q: How can I connect with faculty in the School of Human & Animal Health?

A: Contact information for programs is included below:

Vet Clinic: Shannon Babyak Shannon.babyak@becker.edu

Mental Health Clinic: Beth Greenberg beth.greenberg@becker.edu

Vet Tech AS and BS and Vet Tech/Business Dual Degree: Roda Motta roda.motta@becker.edu

Pre-Vet: Gillian Fraser Gillian.fraser@becker.edu

Equine Studies: Caitlin O’Neill Caitlin.oneill@becker.edu 

Lab Animal Management or Lab Animal Science: Cheryl Dow Cheryl.dow@becker.edu

Biology: Susan Whitehead susan.whitehead@becker.edu

Animal Care and Animal Care Dual Degrees: Dave Dion david.dion@becker.edu

Exercise and Health Sciences: Peixing Jiang Peixing.jiang@becker.edu

Undergraduate Psychology: Kerri Augusto kerri.augusto@becker.edu

Graduate Mental Health Counseling: Beth Greenberg beth.greenberg@becker.edu

Associates in Nursing: Chrystina Manero Chrystina.Manero@becker.edu

Bachelor’s in Nursing: Ann Marie Reynolds-Lynch ann.reynoldslynch@becker.edu 

Post Licensure Nursing Program: Maureen Allen Maureen.allen@becker.edu

Nursing Clinical Liaison: Lindsay Guertin Lindsay.guertin@becker.edu

Q: How can I connect with faculty in the School of Design & Technology, Humanities, and Core?

A: Contact information for programs is included below:

Interactive Media and Game Design: Paul Cotnoir paul.cotnoir@becker.edu

Integrated Graphic Design: Kat Andler  kathleen.andler@becker.edu

Computer Science: Nevin Flanagan nevin.flanagan@becker.edu

MFA: Amanda Theinert  amanda.theinert@becker.edu

Business (Sports Management, Business Management, Esports Management, etc.): Chris Ryan  christopher.ryan@becker.edu

Math: Klaida Kashuri klaida.kashuri@becker.edu

Physics:  Klaida Kashuri klaida.kashuri@becker.edu

Criminal Justice: Kevin Woods kevin.woods@becker.edu

Forensics / Legal Studies: Bill Castro William.Castro@becker.edu

Humanities: Sheila McAvey sheila.mcavey@becker.edu

Core: Daryl Statkus  daryl.statkus@becker.edu

 

Q: How will the online experience be different in the fall than it was in the spring?

A: Although your experience will be online, you will still receive the same quality education, faculty, services, support, community and everything that makes Becker College unique and innovative. While the experience will be different, it will not be any less than what you would have had on campus. Remember, different, but the same high quality and value. This online experience will prepare you well for the future.

The College received a grant that has allowed us to purchase new software tools that will help make online courses more engaging and interactive and make greater use of multimedia. Faculty are receiving training this summer to help prepare them to use these new tools as well as to ensure they are knowledgeable in the best practices associated with teaching online.

Q: What if I don’t have access to technology?

A: If you do not have access to the necessary technology, Becker may be able to assist you. To request assistance, login to Canvas, access the ACAD-2020-ONL-2020FA-Covid19 Emergency Fund course, and download and submit the Technology Challenges Form.

Q: How can I reach my advisor? 

A:  You can reach your advisor by signing into Starfish to schedule an appointment or you can email your advisor to schedule a meeting.

Q: How do I know who my advisor is? 

A: Your advisor should have already reached out to you at some point during the summer. Should your appointed advisor change, or you decide on a change of major, your new advisor will reach out to schedule a time so that the two of you can become acquainted.

Q: What if I don’t know who my advisor is?

A: If you are unclear as to who your advisor is, please email the Center for Career Education & Advising at: ccea@becker.edu.

Q: How do I access accommodations through the CLC for disability services?

A: If you require access to academic accommodations, please contact Brenda Hackett at brenda.hackett@becker.edu. You can also access information regarding Disability Services on our web page or by calling 774-354-0654 or 508-373-9704.

Q: Will I be able to access CLC tutoring and other services when learning online?

A: Yes, we will be providing online tutoring sessions throughout the semester. You can sign up for tutoring by contacting the Collaborative Learning Center (CLC) at clc@becker.edu. You can also call 508-373-9704 to make an appointment or go to the student portal or CLC web page and find an appointment by using TutorTrac. We also have 24-hour access to Tutor.com for all students, which can also be found in the Student Portal and on Canvas.

Q: If I enrolled in the ACES program, will I still be able to receive this academic support with an ACES coach for the FA 2020 semester?

A: Yes, these sessions will take place via Skype or Teams. Your ACES Coach will be reaching out to you this week to introduce themselves and to setup days and times that you will be meeting for additional academic support.

Q: I have a lease on an apartment (or I live) close to campus, can I come to campus to use the facilities or labs?

A: No, students are not allowed on campus. If a student needs to meet with someone, they must make an appointment. Most appointments will be via Zoom.

Please note: All students whether living at home or in an apartment or other shared living space are expected to follow all guidelines for health and safety to keep themselves, their neighbors, and their families safe.

According to College policy, should the College be notified that one or more students are not following state and local guidelines, the student(s) will be subject to disciplinary action. Please see the Student Handbook for more information.

 

Deferrals

Q: What if I want to defer for the Fall Semester?

A: A new, incoming first year or transfer student looking to submit a request for a deferral (either to Spring 2021 or Fall 2021), up to a year, must submit a request in writing to their admissions counselor. Requests can be sent via email to admissions@becker.edu (Deferrals will be considered for new first year and transfer students).

Q: Will my financial aid or scholarships change if I defer?

A: You will maintain your current scholarships when you defer, and they will be honored and applied starting with your deferral term start date. Financial aid packages could remain the same/similar or change, depending on your individual situation and the information submitted on your FAFSA at the time of your deferred start date.

Q: If I defer, what money I have paid will go to my next semester?

A: Your enrollment deposit will be applied to your new start term.

 

Bookstore

Update: August 14, 2020

The Bookstore will not be open for in-person transactions this fall. If you wish to order your course materials and supplies, please place your order through our website, www.beckercollegeshop.com. We will be processing orders daily to make sure students get their materials in time for the start of classes. At this time, the Bookstore is still offering curbside, limited contact pick up for orders placed through our site. This option can be chosen during the checkout process, and you will receive instructions on how to pick up your order when it is ready.  Financial aid has been added as a payment method for those who need it. For instructions on how to order materials, or how to pay with financial aid, please see the instructions below.

In addition, beginining Monday, August 17, Bookstore staff will be available by phone or email to respond to customer questions and provide curbside pickup for online orders. However, we’ve been experiencing higher than normal call volumes. For quicker service, we ask that you email your questions at 0492mgr@follett.com. We can respond to multiple emails in the same time that it takes us to answer one phone call. Please provide as many details as possible to help expedite your inquiry.

If you placed an order with us for in-store pickup prior to the school’s transition to online instruction, we will be reaching out to you on Monday, 8/17, to discuss shipping options and next steps.

Q: How do I purchase my textbooks online?

A: To order books online, go to http://www.bkstr.com/beckerworcesterstore

  • Find the “Get Your Textbooks” section on our homepage. Select “Fall 2020,” and click on “Find Courses.”
  • Select your courses by clicking in the boxes. You can search all your courses at once, or one at a time. When you’ve added your courses, click on “Find Materials.” The site will display any books or supplies needed for your classes. For textbooks, you’ll often have the option to buy and rent print books or purchase a digital copy. Check the box next to the option you want, and click “Add to Cart.”
  • Continue to add your books and supplies to your cart. When you’re done, click the cart icon in the top right corner, and check out. Remember, financial aid is now available as a payment option.

Q: How do I use financial aid in the Bookstore?

A: Students who have eligible aid will be sent an email the first day that their credit can be used. This email will let you know your available credit balance, and provide a direct link to our website. You may use this link, or simply type our URL right into your browser: https://www.bkstr.com/beckerworcesterstore 

Financial aid can be used on books, supplies, and technology.

  • Once you’ve added your books and supplies to your cart, start the checkout process. Log in/create an account and select your delivery method. On the payment tab, you’ll select “Financial Aid.”
  • Enter your student ID number. This is a seven-digit number starting with a “0”.
  • Click “Find Accounts.” It will show your balance and the last day you can make a purchase online. If the site does not bring up an account, please contact the Financial Aid Office to verify or update your balance. Updates will typically be applied within 24 hours.

Financial aid can only be used to buy/rent textbooks or purchase course supplies and laptops/tablets. If you put something restricted in the cart, the site will display the “restrictions in bag” message. Click on the “restrictions in bag” link to see which items are not allowed to be purchased with financial aid. At that point, you can choose to pay for the restricted items with a credit card/Paypal, or remove them from the cart.

  • If there are no restrictions, simply check the box next to “Please agree to Financial Aid Terms/Conditions,” and click on “Pay with this.” Follow the prompts to complete the checkout process.

Athletics

Q: Will there be intercollegiate athletics in the fall?

A: Following the decision by the NECC and maintaining our commitment to the health and safety of our community, there will be no intercollegiate athletic competition in the fall semester. You can read this update here.

Q: If there aren’t intercollegiate athletics, how will I stay connected to my coach and team? 

A: Coaches will continue to communicate with returning, first year and transfer student athletes through zoom meetings, email, and phone calls.

 

Dining Services

Q: What will dining options be for the fall?  

A: There will not be any dining services available for the fall semester.

 

Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid

Q: Why is tuition the same for fully online? 

A:  Becker College is traditionally a campus-based learning institution with online options. Institutions that are always completely online or have a large online presence have different systems in place for instructional design and technology that impact their pricing differently than a college such as Becker. Despite what many assume, it is not less expensive or involve less work to deliver online instruction. The costs of teaching remain the same and with added levels of complexity as we prepare for all courses to be online and hybrid. Please note: Becker College did not raise tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year, and the annual Comprehensive Fee has been cut 87%.

Q: Will I lose my aid, grants, or scholarships with any of the options?

A: No. Merit and need-based financial aid are grants provided by Becker College and will remain the same. Any differences may be due to changes in circumstances as documented in the student’s FASFA form. As long as the student remains full-time, they will receive their full PELL, Direct loans, and state grants.

Q: Will I get a refund if I decide to withdraw from the College?

A: Prior to the start of classes, you can request a refund after your withdrawal is processed. You must contact your advisor to begin that process. After classes begin, The College will follow the established policies and process for refunds which correspond to Financial Aid guidelines and can be located here. 

 

Counseling

Q: Will there be mental health counseling and psychiatric medication management services counseling available? How do I get an appointment or access the clinicians? 

A: Mental health counseling and psychiatric medication management services will be available through telehealth using the HIPAA compliant platform of DOXY.ME. To make an appointment, we prefer that you go online to https://www.becker.edu/student-life/student-support/counseling/.  This will provide you with an opportunity to let us know your best availability.

If you are living out of state, this may affect your ability to access Becker College Counseling Services due to licensing and regulatory requirements and standards.  In this instance, consultation to obtain other appropriate services will be provided.

 

Health and Safety

Q: Who do I call if I feel sick?

A: Students should contact their primary care physician if they feel sick or if they suspect they have symptoms related to COVID 19.

 

Student Insurance

Q: Do I still need to sign a waiver form?

A: Yes. Students who are studying 100% remotely are permitted to waive by providing proof of comparable coverage in the location where they are currently participating in remote classes. Failure to complete the waiver will result in a student being enrolled and responsible for the health insurance fee. Click here to access the form, or go directly to UHP at www.universityhealthplans.com

Q: What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

A: The CDC webpage provides additional information. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported, ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. The CDC continues to update this list as they learn more about COVID-19.

Q: What precautions will be in place for faculty, staff, and vendors on campus?  

A: We will require that everyone who comes to campus—faculty, staff, and vendors and contractors—follow the safety protocols we have established. These protocols include, but are not limited to, the following: wearing masks/face coverings at all times when outside your private office; maintaining a safe physical distance of at least six feet; never congregating in groups larger than a specified number, as determined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is vital to follow these guidelines to ensure the safety and welfare of all.

Q: What are the cleaning protocols on campus for buildings and offices in use by faculty, staff and vendors during the fall semester? Are the facilities staff trained in how to clean for COVID-19? 

A: Housekeeping and facilities will be performing daily cleaning and increased frequency cleaning of all high-touch surfaces. Cleaning staff will use antiviral cleaning supplies that meet CDC regulations.

 

Fitness Centers, Gymnasium, and Athletic Field

Q: Will students be able to use the fitness centers or gymnasium on campus?

A: No. The Fitness Centers on both campuses and the gymnasium will be closed for the fall 2020 semester.

Q: What health and fitness activities will be available?

A: There will be no health and fitness activities available on campus during the fall 2020 semester.  CASL will be hosting virtual health and fitness activities.

 

Library (Learning Commons)

Q: Will I be able to use the libraries on both campuses? 

A: Yes, but virtually. The Learning Commons will be staffed to provide reference support and course instruction virtually during the Fall 2020 semester. For hours of operation, please visit https://www.becker.edu/academic/academic-resources/libraries/


Social Programs/Clubs and Organizations

Q: Will Registered Student Organizations and clubs be allowed to function in the fall?

A: Yes, clubs and Registered Student Organizations will be allowed to have virtual meetings and programs.

Q: Can social activities and programs happen on campus? In the residence halls? Campus Center?

A: No social programs can happen on campus. However, virtual activities and programming will occur throughout the semester. Orientation Leaders will be conducting virtual programming with all new first year and transfer students. Resident Assistants will be programming for their living areas.

 

Residence Halls

Q: Why have I been assigned to housing? 

A: All students who requested housing will receive their assignment and notice of who their Resident Assistant will be. RAs will conduct meetings and social programs throughout the fall so when students move on to campus in January they will have built a strong relationship with their neighbors. That housing assignment will be your spring assignment, unless a student chooses not to reside on campus in the spring and gives proper notice to Residence Life.

Q: Will I be charged for housing in the fall?

A: No room charges will be on your bill for the fall semester.

Q: Can I request a room change before the start of the spring semester? 

A: Please email housing@becker.edu to discuss this option.  Residence Life will do their best to meet your preferences if a vacancy in your desired area occurs.

Q: Can I move to campus housing in January?

A: Presently housing is at capacity based on federal and state guidelines.  Residential Life will begin a waitlist for those students who wish to move on campus in January, should space be available.

Q: Will housing capacity increase in January?

A: Becker housing capacity will be determined by the federal and state guidelines.

 

Spring 2021 Semester

Q: When will we find out about the Spring 2021 Semester?

A: The College will continue to monitor COVID-19 and the impact in the state of Massachusetts, and make decision regarding the Spring Semester accordingly. Our hope is to offer on-campus living and learning—but only when it is safe to do so.

 


FAQs Graduate & Professional Studies

Q:  Will classes for students in the School of Graduate & Professional Studies be offered on campus this fall?

A:  No.  The decision has been made to offer all courses at the College online. Advisors are available to you by email, phone or Zoom sessions to discuss this change in course delivery.  If you were enrolled in on campus courses, your advisor will be contacting you with updates.

Professional Studies Student Advisors

Q: When will the fall semester start?

A:  Fall semester classes will begin on Monday, August 24, 2020, and end on December 5, 2020.

  • The MA in Mental Health Counseling New Graduate Student Orientation will be held virtually on Zoom on Wednesday, August 12, from 5:30-7:30 pm.
  • The MFA in Interactive Media student residency week from August 17-21, 2020 will also now be conducted online.
  • Graduate students will receive specific information regarding these events from their program director.

Update: August 14, 2020

The Bookstore will not be open for in-person transactions this fall. If you wish to order your course materials and supplies, please place your order through our website, www.beckercollegeshop.com. We will be processing orders daily to make sure students get their materials in time for the start of classes. At this time, the Bookstore is still offering curbside, limited contact pick up for orders placed through our site. This option can be chosen during the checkout process, and you will receive instructions on how to pick up your order when it is ready.  Financial aid has been added as a payment method for those who need it. For instructions on how to order materials, or how to pay with financial aid, please see the instructions below.

In addition, beginining Monday, August 17, Bookstore staff will be available by phone or email to respond to customer questions and provide curbside pickup for online orders. However, we’ve been experiencing higher than normal call volumes. For quicker service, we ask that you email your questions at 0492mgr@follett.com. We can respond to multiple emails in the same time that it takes us to answer one phone call. Please provide as many details as possible to help expedite your inquiry.

If you placed an order with us for in-store pickup prior to the school’s transition to online instruction, we will be reaching out to you on Monday, 8/17, to discuss shipping options and next steps.

Q: How do I purchase my textbooks online?

A: To order books online, go to http://www.bkstr.com/beckerworcesterstore

  • Find the “Get Your Textbooks” section on our homepage. Select “Fall 2020,” and click on “Find Courses.”
  • Select your courses by clicking in the boxes. You can search all your courses at once, or one at a time. When you’ve added your courses, click on “Find Materials.” The site will display any books or supplies needed for your classes. For textbooks, you’ll often have the option to buy and rent print books or purchase a digital copy. Check the box next to the option you want, and click “Add to Cart.”
  • Continue to add your books and supplies to your cart. When you’re done, click the cart icon in the top right corner, and check out. Remember, financial aid is now available as a payment option.

Q: How do I use financial aid in the Bookstore?

A: Students who have eligible aid will be sent an email the first day that their credit can be used. This email will let you know your available credit balance, and provide a direct link to our website. You may use this link, or simply type our URL right into your browser: https://www.bkstr.com/beckerworcesterstore 

Financial aid can be used on books, supplies, and technology.

  • Once you’ve added your books and supplies to your cart, start the checkout process. Log in/create an account and select your delivery method. On the payment tab, you’ll select “Financial Aid.”
  • Enter your student ID number. This is a seven-digit number starting with a “0”.
  • Click “Find Accounts.” It will show your balance and the last day you can make a purchase online. If the site does not bring up an account, please contact the Financial Aid Office to verify or update your balance. Updates will typically be applied within 24 hours.

Financial aid can only be used to buy/rent textbooks or purchase course supplies and laptops/tablets. If you put something restricted in the cart, the site will display the “restrictions in bag” message. Click on the “restrictions in bag” link to see which items are not allowed to be purchased with financial aid. At that point, you can choose to pay for the restricted items with a credit card/Paypal, or remove them from the cart.

  • If there are no restrictions, simply check the box next to “Please agree to Financial Aid Terms/Conditions,” and click on “Pay with this.” Follow the prompts to complete the checkout process.

Q:  Will tutoring support be available?

A: Yes, you can access 24/7 live help through Tutor.com, which can be found in Canvas in every course or on the Student Portal.  The Collaborative Learning Center will also continue to provide online tutoring sessions throughout the semester. You can sign up for tutoring by contacting the Collaborative Learning Center (CLC) at clc@becker.edu

Q:  Will I be able to use computers on campus?

A:  No, the computer labs on campus will not be available.  Students needing technology assistance to be successful in their courses are encouraged to complete Technology Challenges Form.  To complete this form, please login to Canvas, access the ACAD-2020-ONL-2020FA-Covid19 Emergency Fund course, and download and submit the Technology Challenges Form.

Q: Is there support available for books and course materials?

A: Thanks in part to a generous donation from The Karen Stapelfeld Dreyer ’61 and Frederic C. Dreyer ’61 Endowed Commuters Scholarship (In Honor of Karen Stapelfeld Dreyer ’61), the College established the Emergency Student Support Fund to provide this much-needed financial support.

The Emergency Student Support Fund assists Becker College students by providing limited financial support due to unexpected circumstances that may jeopardize their ability to successfully continue their studies. This funding does not reimburse for expenses already paid, or can be used to replace or supplement existing financial aid. They are not loans and do not require repayment, although some funds may be considered income and therefore subject to federal taxes. Funding requests will be considered for items necessary to begin the semester – for example, books and other course materials.

To be eligible, a student must:

  • Have a documented financial academic-related hardship from an emergency, accident, or other unplanned event
  • Be currently enrolled as a student at Becker College
  • Be enrolled as a student at Becker College when the funds would be used
  • Be a student in good academic standing at Becker College

Decisions regarding the amount and disbursement of funds are made on a case-by-case basis. To request assistance, login to Canvas, access the ACAD-2020-ONL-2020FA-Covid19 Emergency Fund course, and download and submit the Student Support Fund.

Q: Whom do I contact if I have questions? 

A:  Please reach out to the following individuals:

  • Professional Studies Majors: Sheila Soloperto, Director of Student Services, Sheila.soloperto@becker.edu
  • MA in Mental Health Counseling: Beth Greenberg, Associate Professor of Psychology and Mental Health Counseling Coordinator, Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling, beth.greenberg@becker.edu
  • MFA in Interactive Media: Amanda Theinert, Director of Master’s in Fine Arts Program, amanda.theinert@becker.edu

 


Academics

Over the summer, we have been preparing for whatever the Fall Semester might bring, knowing there was a possibility we would need to move to teaching online. While we are certainly looking forward to seeing students back on campus, we have been preparing to ensure a high-quality online experience for the fall. Here are some things you can expect during your fall online experience.

Faculty Training and Preparation for Online Learning

Over the summer, faculty have been taking part in training focusing on how to provide students with a high-quality online learning experience. They have learned more about ways to take full advantage of Canvas, how to make courses more engaging and interactive, and how to best work with students remotely. The College also purchased additional software tools that integrate with Canvas to improve the quality of our online courses; faculty were provided with training on these new tools.

What You Will Need to be Successful

In order to be successful, you will need access to the following:

  • A reliable internet connection
  • A computer with a web cam
  • Some courses may require access to specific software
    • Becker has plans in place to help you access some of these tools remotely. See the program-specific information below that relates to your major.
    • Becker provides all students with access to Microsoft Office 365 tools online, including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Teams. These tools are all available by logging into the Student Portal.

If you do not have access to the necessary technology, Becker may be able to assist you. To request assistance, login to Canvas, access the “ACAD-2020-ONL-2020FA-Covid19 Emergency Fund” course, and download and submit the Technology Challenges Form.

Your Becker community is here to support you through the online learning experience this fall.  You can schedule times to meet virtually with many on-campus staff (including your advisor, Counseling, and CLC tutors and staff) and your faculty. Stay connected, reach out when you have questions—we’re here to help you be successful.

School of Human & Animal Health

Faculty and staff have been working throughout the summer to ensure they would be prepared to shift to teaching online this fall. They have prepared for this scenario to ensure a positive engaging student experience in an online format.

The Nursing and Veterinary Technology departments have secondary accrediting bodies that require specific changes in order to deliver them fully online. The following changes have been made in order to meet these requirements:

  • Nursing will be utilizing an online simulation product, vClinical NurseThink, https://nursethink.com/vclinical, which is approved by both ACEN and BORN (our accrediting and regulatory bodies) to supplement clinical.
  • Veterinary Technology programs will continue working with students in the 1000 and 2000 level courses to help them secure placements in veterinary clinics where they can complete their essential skills during the fall semester. Essential skills need to be completed prior to graduation, but not necessarily to complete each course. We will share additional details with Vet Tech students following this message. Please send any specific questions to your advisor or the Director of Veterinary Technology programs, Roda Motta Roda.Motta@becker.edu.

The Lenfest Animal Health Clinic will not be open to the public after August 14 through December 31, 2020, to minimize health and safety concerns.

School of Design & Technology

The School of Design & Technology—home of the #2-in-the-world Game Design program and the first in the U.S. Esports Management program—prides itself in providing a rigorous academic experience and engaging student activities. We have been hard at work ensuring we continue these experiences while students are off campus for the fall semester.

Access to some software applications (especially those used in Interactive Media and Game Design and Computer Science courses) will be made available via remote access protocols (e.g., RDP, VPN, etc.), in which students will remotely access PCs within the labs on campus or via cloud-based infrastructure. You will be expected to have some software and hardware specific tools for courses you are taking (e.g., Unity Game engine [free game design software], drawing tablet, etc.) installed locally on your computer.

We have diligently worked on providing remote access for most tools used across our majors, which include Adobe suite, Game Design tools, Audio toolsets, and general virtual toolsets. We are leveraging a myriad of tools onsite and via the cloud to provide access to these tools, and will continue to leverage existing and new distance learning tools. Faculty will provide students with information on what tools and software will be needed for their courses and what the most optimal methods are for accessing these tools.

School of Graduate & Professional Studies

The School of Graduate & Professional Studies faculty and staff have been preparing for the possibility of moving to all online learning in the fall semester. Our faculty have been invited to participate in enhanced online learning training available through the Office of Teaching, Learning, and Technology, which includes an introduction to new software tools that enhance online courses.

While most of the professional studies (adult undergraduate) courses offered this semester were originally scheduled online, those offered on campus have been revised to an online format. The graduate program directors have modified their courses as well, and they are confident you will obtain the high-quality education you looked forward to in the graduate programs at Becker. As always, the faculty and staff in the School are dedicated to helping you be successful in your studies.


Student Experience & Engagement

Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) will be allowed to have virtual meetings and programs. While no social activities and programs can happen on campus, virtual activities and programming will occur throughout the semester. Orientation Leaders will be conducting virtual programming with all new first year and transfer students.

All students who requested housing will receive their assignment and notice of who their Resident Assistant (RA) will be. RAs will conduct meetings and social programs throughout the fall so when students move on campus in January, they will have built a strong relationship with their neighbors. That housing assignment will be your spring assignment, unless a student chooses not to reside on campus in the spring and gives proper notice to Residence Life.


Tuition Freeze & Ninth Semester

To be eligible for the 2021-2022 tuition freeze, the student:

  • Must be a continuing or newly admitted traditional undergraduate student enrolled with 12 or more semester credits for both Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters and must successfully complete a minimum of 12 credits in each of those semesters.
  • Does not fail or withdraw from any course, and maintains a 2.00 cumulative grade point average.
  • Remains in good disciplinary standing during the 2020-2021 academic year.

Ninth Semester

While the extraordinary circumstances surrounding COVID-19 has impacted our ability to bring the full campus experience our community is used to and expects as a member of Hawk Nation in the 2020 academic year, we want to ensure that all students, over the course of their time as a Becker Hawk, can attain a complete and fully rounded experience of college life in our close-knit and supportive community.

Becker College is pleased to announce a new program for our new and continuing traditional undergraduate students enrolled through the 2020-2021 academic year—called the Ninth Semester. Eligible students will be allowed an extra semester, their Ninth Semester, tuition-free.

NOTE: Associate Degree students’ Ninth Semester can actually be their Fifth Semester! Please consult with your advisor to learn how you can take advantage of an extra semester, tuition-free.

To be eligible for the Ninth Semester, the student:

  • Must be a continuing or new traditional undergraduate day student enrolled with 12 or more semester credits for both Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. In addition, the student must successfully complete a minimum of 12 credits in each of those semesters. All students MUST be enrolled during the 2020-2021 academic year.
  • Has completed eight (8) semesters of undergraduate education either wholly at Becker (12 or more credits per semester) or completed at Becker after transferring from another institution.
  • Does not fail or withdraw from any course, and maintains a 2.00 cumulative grade point average.
  • Remains in good disciplinary standing each semester enrolled, including the Ninth Semester.
  • Must complete their Ninth Semester with courses offered at Becker.

NOTE: Students have the option of completing their Ninth Semester courses during either the fall or spring semester.

Student-Athlete Information

  • Student-athletes should consult with their coach on eligibility and compliance requirements.
  • Student-athletes taking part in a spring sport may choose to take their Ninth Semester in the spring. However, they would NOT then be permitted to participate in any manner with the team during the fall semester preceding unless they were enrolled full-time for that semester (12 credits).

Advising

  • Students are required to consult with their academic advisor on course selection and course availability for degree progression and must have the approval of the Assistant Dean, Student Support Services, to approve their specific plan.
  • As they make academic progress, students will be responsible for ensuring they will need to take a degree-completion course during their ninth semester.

Financial Information

  • Becker College will cover the full value of tuition for the courses needed to complete an undergraduate degree in the Ninth Semester, minus any other federal, state or institutional grant/scholarships the student qualifies for that semester.
  • Students must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Any fees, board, and housing costs incurred will be charged directly to the student at the standard rates. (On-campus residence is not a requirement.)

For more information about the Tuition Freeze and Becker’s Ninth Semester, contact Dr. Amber L. Vaill, Vice President for Academic Affairs at amber.vaill@becker.edu.  For questions about academics, please contact your advisor.


Emergency Student Support Fund

Thanks in part to a generous donation from The Karen Stapelfeld Dreyer ’61 and Frederic C. Dreyer ’61 Endowed Commuters Scholarship (In Honor of Karen Stapelfeld Dreyer ’61), the College established the Emergency Student Support Fund to provide this much-needed financial support.

The Emergency Student Support Fund assists Becker College students by providing limited financial support due to unexpected circumstances that may jeopardize their ability to successfully continue their studies. This funding does not reimburse for expenses already paid, or can be used to replace or supplement existing financial aid. They are not loans and do not require repayment, although some funds may be considered income and therefore subject to federal taxes. Funding requests will be considered for items necessary to begin the semester – for example, books and other course materials.

To be eligible, a student must:

  • Have a documented financial academic-related hardship from an emergency, accident, or other unplanned event
  • Be currently enrolled as a student at Becker College
  • Be enrolled as a student at Becker College when the funds would be used
  • Be a student in good academic standing at Becker College

Decisions regarding the amount and disbursement of funds are made on a case-by-case basis. To request assistance, login to Canvas, access the “ACAD-2020-ONL-2020FA-Covid19 Emergency Fund” course, and download and submit the Student Support Fund form.


Health & Safety Guidelines & Protocols

For those students who are living off-campus in the area, please remember that you are a Becker College student and, as such, need to follow health and safety guidelines and protocols. These include:

  • Wearing a mask/face covering: On May 6, Massachusetts issued an order requiring face coverings in all public places and common areas—both indoors and outdoors—where social distancing is not possible.
  • Social distancing: Social distancing, also called physical distancing, means keeping space between you and other people outside your home. Limiting face-to-face contact with others is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. In addition, universal social distancing is critical to protecting everyone. Masks/face coverings DO NOT eliminate the need for social distancing. Always remain a minimum of 6 feet (approximately two arms’ length) from other people. Avoid large gatherings, respect physical distancing from those who are older, and modify interpersonal interactions.
  • Practicing good hygiene: Good, basic hygiene is key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 as well as other viruses. Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Cough/sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve. Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Flu vaccine: We encourage and highly recommend you receive a flu vaccine in mid-September and no later than the end of October. Symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 can be very similar.
  • Compliance: It is essential that we work together to reduce the spread of COVID19 infection and promote the health and safety of friends, families, and neighbors.

Technology and Online Learning Updates

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the spring and the abrupt transition to remote learning, the Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology (TLT) at Becker College has spent the summer with faculty to enhance remote teaching and learning in preparation for the fall.

The TLT has been implementing changes to accommodate faculty and students taking part in online and hybrid learning experiences, and has created and beginning to implement pedagogical training on the following topics:

  • Leveraging the Canvas LMS
  • Maximizing Learning Strategies for Instructional Success
  • Engaging Students in Course Content
  • Teacher Presence Online
  • Planning & Facilitating Effective Discussions and Course Assessment Online
  • Accessibility, Equity, and Inclusion

The TLT has developed these faculty training courses to help faculty make their courses more interactive and engaging, as well as to provide assistance in adhering to Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles to ensure accessibility, equity, and inclusion in courses. Faculty training courses are being held online in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. The TLT is working with faculty to train some to be faculty peer mentors so they may assist their colleagues with new teaching strategies and tools.

In addition to Becker-designed and delivered trainings, TLT has partnered with Microsoft Education Group (Natick, MA) to facilitate training for all Becker faculty and students through the summer and fall on all of its platforms. Current technology platforms are being leveraged to their fullest potential. This will help ensure Microsoft 365 is fully leveraged and faculty are prepared to use the various capabilities of Microsoft Teams, especially video conferencing.

Traditionally, online learning can be very text heavy. Students often must do a lot more reading and writing than if they were to take a face-to-face course.  This is why it was important to adopt new technologies that would allow the College to bring all types of media into online classrooms. New technology tools have been implemented to make online courses more interactive and engaging.

  • Harmonize is asynchronous discussion tool that allows for embedded pictures, video, and audio recording in the discussion itself. Students and instructors will have the ability to utilize this option. In addition, there are many other options when posting, including writing computer code within an online discussion, which can be very useful for Interactive Media and Computer Science students.
  • Canvas Studio is an embedded screencast tool in Canvas. Students and instructors will be able to record, upload, post, edit, etc., all of their videos with this tool. This tool will allow for seamless video interactions with important capabilities such as auto-captioning while simplifying the video upload process.
  • Portfoliumis an eportfolio community integrated into Canvas that will connect Becker students, past and present, with faculty, staff, and potential employers for networking. It also has features that will assist the College with assessment efforts.
  • Kahoot! is a quizzing platform intended to increase student participation through gamification. It enables faculty to “see” that all students are actively participating in live online class sessions. By stopping the lecture to ask questions using Kahoot!, faculty can use the data analytics to get a sense of how all students are doing understanding the material. This allows a faculty member to intervene at earlier stage if it doesn’t look like students are understanding the course material.

 


COVID-19 CARES Act

October 1, 2020

Information Regarding the CARES Act Funds

Per guidance from the Federal government regarding CARES Act Funding, the College is required to furnish the following information 30 days after the date when the institution received its allocation under 18004(a)(1) and updated every 45 days thereafter. The first posting was May 21, 2020. The second was July 2, 2020, and the third was August 12, 2020. As of August 31, 2020, the requirement was reduced to once a quarter, no later than 10 days after September 30, December 31, March 31, June 30.

For the October 2020 update: There have been no changes to the information posted on August 12, 2020.

 

August 12, 2020

Information Regarding the CARES Act Funds

Per guidance from the Federal government regarding CARES Act Funding, the College is required to furnish the following information 30 days after the date when the institution received its allocation under 18004(a)(1) and updated every 45 days thereafter. The first posting was May 21, 2020. The second was July 2, 2020. This is the next required 45 day update. Any changes/updates are in blue.

  1. An acknowledgement that the institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. Becker College acknowledges it has signed and returned the certification and agreement and has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received.
  2. The total amount of funds that the institution will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students. Becker College received $822,585, all of which is to be returned directly to students.
  3. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the 30-day Report and every 45 days thereafter). On 5/13/2020, Becker College mailed out checks totaling $814,445 to eligible students, and plans to distribute the remaining $8,140 in the coming weeks. As of 7/2/2020, $816880 had been allocated to students and $5705 is unallocated. We will finalize that allocation in July 2020. As of 8/12/2020, Becker has allocated $822,590 to be returned to students, our entire allocation of $822,585 and an additional $5.00. $816,080 has been returned. The final $6510 has been allocated and will be mailed to students within the next 10 days.
  4. The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. Spring 2020: 1,476 students started an in-person (not exclusively online) program. That number does not include consortium/non-matriculated students taking class(es). As of 5/13/2020, 1,315 of those 1,476 have valid ISIRs; 161 do not. As of 7/02/2020, 1,318 of those 1,476 have valid ISIRs; 158 do not. As of 8/12/2020, 1317 of 1476 have valid ISIRs, 159 do not.
  5. The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. As of 5/13/2020, 1,312 received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant. The remaining three students will receive funds, as we are awaiting requested documentation to finalize their FAFSAs. As of 7/02/2020,1316 are eligible for Emergency Financial Aid Grant. As of 8/12/2020,1317 are eligible for Emergency Financial Aid Grant.
  6. The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. On 5/4/2020, the College communicated the following:

“After considerable analysis, Becker will award funds based on three levels of need:

  1. Financial Need and PELL eligible                  $800 per student
  2. Financial Need and not PELL eligible            $535 per student
  3. All other students who filed FAFSA               $100 per student
  4. Added 8/12/20: Students who are not Pell eligible with the greatest remaining financial need (62 students*): $105/student

*Note: these 62 students previously received the $535 disbursement in May. This is an additional amount, giving them $640 total.

  1. Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants. On May 15, the following explanatory email was sent to all students to whom a check was mailed on May 13:

“In April, the federal government passed the CARES Act, a section of which allocated funds for college students affected by Covid-19. To distribute these funds to our students, Becker College mailed you a check on Wednesday, May 13. This money is for you to spend however you like; it is meant to help offset any hardships (such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, child care) you experienced when students were restricted, due to public health guidelines, from returning to campus in Spring 2020. This is your money to spend any way that you wish. This dollar amount will not be included in your AGI and does not get reported on your taxes.

 

July 2, 2020

Information Regarding the CARES Act Funds

Per guidance from the Federal government regarding CARES Act Funding, the College is required to furnish the following information 30 days after the date when the institution received its allocation under 18004(a)(1) and updated every 45 days thereafter. The first posting was May 21, 2020, this is the required 45 day update. Any changes/updates are in italics.

  1. An acknowledgement that the institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. Becker College acknowledges it has signed and returned the certification and agreement and has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received.
  2. The total amount of funds that the institution will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students. Becker College received $822,585, all of which is to be returned directly to students.
  3. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the 30-day Report and every 45 days thereafter). On 5/13/2020, Becker College mailed out checks totaling $814,445 to eligible students, and plans to distribute the remaining $8,140 in the coming weeks. 7/2/2020 update: $816,880 has been allocated to student,s and $5,705 is unallocated. We will finalize that allocation in July 2020.
  4. The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. Spring 2020: 1,476 students started an in-person (not exclusively online) program. That number does not include consortium/non-matriculated students taking class(es). As of 5/13/2020, 1,315 of those 1,476 have valid ISIRs; 161 do not. As of 7/02/2020, 1,318 of those 1,476 have valid ISIRs; 158 do not.
  5. The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. As of 5/13/2020, 1,312 received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant. The remaining three students will receive funds, as we are awaiting requested documentation to finalize their FAFSAs. As of 7/02/2020,1316 are eligible for Emergency Financial Aid Grant.
  6. The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. On 5/4/2020, the College communicated the following:

“After considerable analysis, Becker will award funds based on three levels of need:

  1. Financial Need and PELL eligible                  $800 per student
  2. Financial Need and not PELL eligible            $535 per student
  3. All other students who filed FAFSA              $100 per student
  4. Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants. On May 15, the following explanatory email was sent to all students to whom a check was mailed on May 13:

In April, the federal government passed the CARES Act, a section of which allocated funds for college students affected by Covid-19. To distribute these funds to our students, Becker College mailed you a check on Wednesday, May 13. This money is for you to spend however you like; it is meant to help offset any hardships (such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, child care) you experienced when students were restricted, due to public health guidelines, from returning to campus in Spring 2020. This is your money to spend any way that you wish. This dollar amount will not be included in your AGI and does not get reported on your taxes.

Best wishes for continued health for you and your family.”

May 21, 2020

Information Regarding the CARES Act Funds

Per guidance from the Federal government regarding CARES Act Funding, the College is required to furnish the following information 30 days after the date when the institution received its allocation under 18004(a)(1) and updated every 45 days thereafter.

  1. An acknowledgement that the institution signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. Becker College acknowledges it has signed and returned the certification and agreement and has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received.
  2. The total amount of funds that the institution will receive or has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students. Becker College received $822,585, all of which is to be returned directly to students.
  3. The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of the date of submission (i.e., as of the 30-day Report and every 45 days thereafter). On 5/13/2020, Becker College mailed out checks totaling $814,445 to eligible students, and plans to distribute the remaining $8,140 in the coming weeks.
  4. The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. Spring 2020: 1,476 students started an in-person (not exclusively online) program. That number does not include consortium/non-matriculated students taking class(es). As of 5/13/2020, 1,315 of those 1,476 have valid ISIRs; 161 do not.
  5. The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. As of 5/13/2020, 1,312 received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant. The remaining three students will receive funds, as we are awaiting requested documentation to finalize their FAFSAs.
  6. The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act. On 5/4/2020, the College communicated the following:

“After considerable analysis, Becker will award funds based on three levels of need:

  1. Financial Need and PELL eligible                  $800 per student
  2. Financial Need and not PELL eligible            $535 per student
  3. All other students who filed FAFSA              $100 per student
  4. Any instructions, directions, or guidance provided by the institution to students concerning the Emergency Financial Aid Grants. On May 15, the following explanatory email was sent to all students to whom a check was mailed on May 13:

“In April, the federal government passed the CARES Act, a section of which allocated funds for college students affected by Covid-19. To distribute these funds to our students, Becker College mailed you a check on Wednesday, May 13. This money is for you to spend however you like; it is meant to help offset any hardships (such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, child care) you experienced when students were restricted, due to public health guidelines, from returning to campus in Spring 2020. This is your money to spend any way that you wish. This dollar amount will not be included in your AGI and does not get reported on your taxes.

Best wishes for continued health for you and your family.”

May 4, 2020  

Dear Students:

The CARES Act, which establishes and funds the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), directs institutions of higher education to use no less than 50 percent of funds received under Sections 18004(a)(1) and 18004(c) of the CARES Act to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care).

Becker College received a total of $1,644,000, with half of these funds—$822,000—being dispersed directly to Becker students, and the second $822,000 available to assist with items such as room & board refunds and technology enhancements necessary to enhance online teaching transitions during the Spring 2020 semester.

Direct Funds to Students

The Department of Education provided limited direct guidance on how institutions should provide these stimulus funds to students. The Department encouraged colleges to look to those students with greater need, but issued no further details. The one directive regarding these funds is that students must have a valid FAFSA on file in order to be eligible for these funds.  

Becker has made the decision that students who have not yet filed a FAFSA may do so by May 20, 2020, and then appeal to the Financial Aid Office.

After considerable analysis, Becker will award funds based on three levels of need:

  1. Financial Need and PELL eligible                  $800 per student
  2. Financial Need and not PELL eligible            $535 per student
  3. All other students who filed FAFSA              $100 per student

The College believes that all students who filed a FAFSA should receive a small portion of these funds to help. Checks should be mailed by the end of the week of May 4.

Institutional Funds to Use with Discretion

The Department of Education provided far wider discretion with the second half of the stimulus funds: $822,000. Becker has determined that the best use of these funds is to dedicate them to room & board refunds.

Students who have paid room & board fees for the Spring semester will receive a pro-rated refund based on the time when the College officially closed the campus (March 16) to the end of the Spring semester (May 7, the last day of final exams).

College residence halls are unlike hotel rooms, in that expenses are not spread equally day-to-day. The College incurs far greater expenses in the first half of a Spring semester versus the second half, which include utilities, facilities management support, snow removal when necessary, as well as rent for leased residence halls. Many of these expenses continued after the transition to remote learning.

The refunds will be applied as follows:

  1. Room: There are five room rates in the Becker system. Students will receive a fixed refund amount based on what room rate was billed.
  2. Board: All students on a 14- or 19-meal plan will receive a fixed amount based on the number of days missed due to the shutdown.
  3. Becker Bucks: Students with unused Becker Bucks will be refunded those balances.

The College will complete an account reconciliation for all students at the end of the Spring 2020 semester and apply a refund or partial refund amount first to any unpaid balance on your account. Refund checks will be sent out as soon as the funds are made available to the College from the government.

For questions related to the Stimulus Funds, please email stimulusfund@becker.edu.

David A. Ellis, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Spring 2021 PlansClick here